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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Cumbria nest camera allows bird fans to see osprey chicks

IT’S the Kodak moment you don’t want to miss – capturing the newborn. But that’s exactly what Cumbria Wildlife Trust had to contend with before announcing the arrival of their first osprey chicks.

Unfortunately a glitch with the nest camera at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve meant the trust couldn’t confirm the eagerly-anticipated news until it had evidence.

Now that the osprey nest camera is back online, three healthy chicks are clearly visible.

Andrea Simpson, publications officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “It’s been so exciting for us. At first the camera was taking photos pretty much in the dark. For a good couple of weeks, even though the behaviour was indicating there were chicks, we didn’t have conclusive photographic evidence. When we got those definitive pictures we were thrilled.”

The nature reserve, near Witherslack, has seen visiting ospreys for the last few years but this is the first time chicks have been successfully reared.

Conservation manager David Harpley has been following the birds’ progress since they arrived earlier this spring.

He said: “There are three quite big chicks and at the moment they look like they’re going to survive but it really depends on what the weather does.

“If we don’t get weeks of heavy rain, the likelihood is we will get at least two away and possibly all three.”

The recovery of the osprey in the UK is a real conservation success story.

Persecution meant ospreys were extinct in the whole of the UK by the early 20th century.

The Scottish population has risen from a single pair in 1954, to more than 270 pairs today, with ospreys spreading through northern England as they colonise new territories.

One of the parents at Foulshaw hatched at Bassenthwaite and the other at Kielder Forest.

“Last year they tried to nest but they didn’t rear any chicks,” said Mr Harpley.

“But we know they’re both relatively young birds and ospreys take quite a long time to breed properly. It’s been a bit of a wait but worth it.”

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